Seattle resident James Burns, 29, wants to offer the indie band Weezer $10 million to break up. He wants it so badly that he has launched a tongue-in-cheek grassroots campaign to raise money to persuade the "Buddy Holly" rockers to disband. "I beg you, Weezer," he says at ThePoint.com, "Take our money and disappear." What is this all about?
Why does Burns want Weezer to break up?
He says that Weezer has a habit of promising fans that its next release will be great, then fails to deliver — and has not released a decent album in years: "This is an abusive relationship," he says, "and it needs to stop now." He adds modestly that the campaign "isn't about me. This is about the Weezer fans. They are our brothers and sisters, our friends, our lovers."
How much has he raised so far?
To date, Burns has received pledges for just under $2,000 — about 1/500th or 1 percent of his stated goal. But he vows to carry on, one way or the other, "as long as it takes" to raise the full $10 million. That could take quite some time, says James Lawrenson at Spinner, unless a "benevolent benefactor, philanthropist or lottery winner" joins Burns' cause.
How has Weezer responded?
"If they can make it 20 (million)," joked guitarist Patrick Wilson on Twitter, "we'll do the deluxe breakup!" The band's singer, Rivers Cuomo, was less encouraging, again via Twitter: "No petition and no amount of money will stop us from being together!"
What do critics say?
"Grassroots web campaigns meant to create opportunities and bring people together" are not uncommon, says Dave Itzkoff at The New York Times — the push to get Betty White on "Saturday Night Live," for instance. But it's a "pity" when someone tries to do the opposite. Plenty of celebrities have "overstayed their welcome" in the limelight, says Cary Fagan at The Stir. Tom Cruise, Miley Cyrus, the "Progressive Insurance Lady," to name a few. "If money is what it takes" to get rid of them, then "let the fundraising begin."
And Weezer's fans?
Unsurprisingly, they're not too happy about it. On the forums at AllThingsWeezer.com, fans have created a thread titled "$10 Million Dollar Kid: Wanted Dead or Dying." Burns admits he has received death threats from some die-hard Weezer fans — and he says he will end his current online campaign, posted at ThePoint.com, after the coming weekend. "This whole campaign, I fully admit that it's silly," he told The New York Times.